Delta Air Lines’ computer problems stalled departures at Kansas City International Airport on Monday morning, but the carrier scrambled to get passengers on alternative flights.
A Kansas City aviation official said Delta’s local manager reported that passenger lines were back to normal by 2 p.m. As for service, however, the KCI website updated throughout Monday showed that afternoon flights previously listed as on time were delayed.
Delta advised travelers to check the status of their flights at the company’s website or on its app. Tuesday’s scheduled Delta departures at KCI all were listed as on time.
During Monday’s disruptions, business traveler Sarah Karlin waited in three lines at KCI before finally getting through to Delta officials on her cellphone.
“I got it,” Karlin declared, holding up a freshly printed boarding pass for her new flight that still had the old departure time on it. “It took two hours, but I got it.”
Karlin came in from Topeka for a 9:29 a.m. Delta flight to Detroit. Her ultimate destination was Providence, R.I., around 4 p.m. Instead, her flight was rerouted to Atlanta, and she didn’t expect to see Providence until 9:30 p.m.
“I had some business meetings set up for tonight, so those will be canceled,” Karlin said.
A power outage in Atlanta early Monday morning disrupted Delta systems worldwide and forced the airline to announce that passengers should expect service interruptions. Limited flights resumed about six hours into the outage.
Throughout the day, Delta increased the number of flights it canceled. Originally, around 300 were canceled, but the total had grown to more than 740 by 6 p.m., according to updates at the company’s website. Delta operates 6,000 flights daily.
Delta’s timeline on the day began at 4:50 a.m. Central with a notice that a computer outage had affected flights. Nearly an hour and a half later, an update cited the power outage and said to expect large-scale flight cancellations. It also apologized for “flight status systems, including airport screens” as incorrectly showing flights were on time.
The New York Times cited a Georgia Power spokesman to report that the power outage happened when “a piece of electrical equipment called a switchgear broke down.” It said the power loss did not affect other parts of Atlanta.
“We believe that Delta Air Lines experienced an equipment failure overnight that caused their outage,” John Kraft, the spokesman, told The Times. “Our Georgia Power crews have been on site this morning. We’re working closely with the team at Delta as they repair that equipment.”
At KCI, Delta operates 29 daily departures.
A local Delta employee referred questions to the company’s Atlanta headquarters.
Many Delta passengers around the country complained that they received no notice of the global disruption and learned of the problem while sitting at airport gates, having gone through security and checked their bags.
That was the case with Karlin’s co-worker Christa Bullock, who had gotten to KCI ahead of Karlin and was at Gate 57 when the news surfaced.
“I was the one who told her you’re not going to get on the plane you’re waiting for,” Karlin said.
Delta chief executive Ed Bastian apologized in an online video and assured passengers that the airline’s effort to return to service was an “all hands on deck effort.”
Others at KCI were more optimistic that the airline’s problems would not become their own.
Mary Soler arrived about 9:45 a.m. to put her son and daughter on a Delta flight to Atlanta. They were heading to a connecting flight to Paris.
Soler said she had planned for possible delays and arranged for a three-hour layover in Atlanta. She said Delta assured her that the international flight would leave on time and that her children would make it.
“They’re going to arrive a little bit late,” Soler said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.